Ohio State Football Forum

Ohio State Football Forum

Ohio State football fan talk.

Can Brian Hartline's Star-Studded 2023 Class Break String of WRs out of Florida Not Matching Up to Their Prep Hype at TOSU??

+15 HS
Chigusa's picture
June 25, 2022 at 2:39pm

The unprecedented back-to-back-to-back commitments of 2023 prospects Carnell Tate, Brandon Innis, & Noah Rogers has the College Football world buzzing. These highly rated recruits along with Bryson Rodgers have potential to be Ohio State's best collection of WR talent in one class ever.

Recent success stories of Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jameson Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba along with Marvin Harrison Jr. & Emeka Egbuka flashing big time potential in their freshman season suggests at least two players from the 2023 group should develop into college stars and future first/second round draft picks. However, a more detailed look into history also reveals that if Ohio State's newest WR commits from the sunshine state ultimately live up to their recruiting profiles, it will break a long string of Florida pass catchers who did not find much success at Ohio State in the modern recruiting era. 

It hasn't been talked about much, but after great years with Michael Jenkins (2000-2003 - Tampa, FL), Chris Vance (JUCO Recruit - 2001-2002 - Fort Meyers, FL), and Santonio Holmes (2002-2005 - Belle Glade, FL)..Ohio State has endured a 10 plus year stretch of hyped WRs from Florida failing to find on field success for various reasons, eventually ending up with the dreaded 'bust' label. The following list is a sobering one.

- Albert Dukes (Belle Glade, FL - Class of 2004) -- As you may recall, Albert Dukes was a close friend/former teammate of Santonio Holmes and was supposed to be a carbon copy of his fellow Belle Glade Central star (he was actually rated higher than Holmes). A four star recruit & one of the top prep WRs in the state -- Dukes' father played at Florida and he grew up a lifelong Gator fan. But Ron Zook's offense at the time wasn't appealing to several recruits, so Albert opted to follow Holmes' footsteps to Columbus.

Unfortunately, Dukes was only able to show minor flashes on the field at Oho State and wasn't known to be the most motivated guy off the field. A serious off the field issue after his redshirt freshman season effectively put him in Darrell Hazell's doghouse for the remainder of his Buckeye career. Dukes would tally just 4 catches for 39  yards in two seasons (2005 & 2006) and never really saw the field after that. Despite not having the career he wanted at Ohio State - Dukes toughed it out through his 2008 graduation and actually found some college redemption as a grad transfer for Valdosta State where he earned all conference honors (scored 8 TDs in 2008 season). Albert Dukes & Devon Lyons were two promising WRs from the class of 2004 that ended up not working out at OSU. 

Duron Carter (Fort Lauderdale, FL - Class of 2009) Duron Carter had all the makings of a superstar legacy player for Ohio State. He dominated at St. Thomas Aquinas and came to Columbus as one of the most talented players in the country. Carter displayed  flashes of potential in his lone season with the Buckeyes, but maturity issues quickly led him out the door to the JUCO ranks..after that he washed out of two more D1 schools in Alabama and Florida Atlantic (never played a down for either of those teams). His story is one of those cautionary tales where all the talent in the world won't help if your head isn't on straight at a young age.

It's also interesting to contrast Duron Carter's career with young Marvin Harrison Jr. I remember Garrett Wilson speaking about Harrison in an interview prior to the 2021 season..reporters asked Wilson about how quickly Harrison was progressing as the son of a hall of fame WR.  Wilson talked about how being the son of an NFL player can be a great thing for many guys, but he's also seen some young players 'go the other way' by succumbing  to the pressure..and Duron Carter is a perfect example of that. But like DeVier Posey, Carter would go on to find success up in the Canadian Football League. He's actually been playing as a defensive back in recent years.

James Louis - (Delray Beach, FL - Class of 2010)  Many may not even remember the speedster out of Delray Beach who was a top 200 four star recruit with offers from most of the southern powerhouses at the time. His time in Columbus was short as he redshirted in 2010 (back then guys couldn't play in a few games and still redshirt, so Louis didn't see any game action) and then decided to transfer out in 2011 due to 'family concerns' and doubts about his role in the offense. This article also theorizes that Louis decided to move in another direction following the tat-gate situation and subsequent firing of Coach Tress. But his issues didn't end with his departure from OSU because after moving on to Florida International..Louis never played a down for them and sadly would never catch a collegiate pass. 

James Clark (Class of 2013 - New Smyrna Beach) - A member of Urban Meyer's loaded 2013 class, James Clark was another four star guy with the reputation of taking the top off defenses with superior speed. Clark would see the field in his first two seasons with the Buckeyes, but unfortunate injuries would cut those campaigns short (ankle as a freshmen & hamstring as a soph) When Clark returned in 2016 he just couldn't find his way to playing time in a competitive WR room (he essentially got recruited over) In four seasons at OSU Clark finished with just six receptions for 47 yards.

While football didn't go Clark's way, he made the most of his time in Columbus as a model two sport athlete. James was on Ohio State's track & field relay team that set a school record. By all accounts he was a great dude who left with a finance degree. Clark tried one last go around as a grad transfer at Virginia Tech in 2017. He saw the field in the Hokie 2 deep, but missed five weeks of action after suffering a thumb injury in game three. He finished up at Va Tech with 8 catches for 92 yards and 7 Kick returns for an average of 25 yards. Julian Fleming's first two years at OSU is remarkably similar to James Clark's..lets hope Julian can experience a different ending. 

Torrance Gibson (Class of 2015 - Fort Lauderdale, FL) Torrance Gibson was a former five star QB/Athlete out of American Heritage, the same school of current Buckeye recruits Mark Fletcher & Brandon Innis. Gibson was a physical freak in the mold of a Terelle Pryor. Unlike TP, Torrance made the switch to WR early to get on the field faster..he's perhaps best remembered for his awesome 2016 Spring Game where he looked like Ohio State's next dominant WR.

Every college football fan of a major school knows the ensuing summer months after spring camp is a period where you just hope & pray guys can just make it the fall without any bad situations, and Gibson unfortunately did not make it out of the off-season. He was suspended for the fall semester prior to the 2016 season due to harassment allegations from a former tutor. The Ohio State athletic department attempted to fight the ruling to no avail. His violation of the university's student code of conduct ultimately led to his departure. 

After redshirting in 2015 & missing the entire 2016 season. Gibson decided to transfer to Cincinnati to play for Luke Fickell. The plan was to sit out 2017 to have two years of D1 eligibility remaining..Gibson wanted to return as a QB for the Bearcats. Torrance's college career may have turned out differently if he stayed in Cincy. But he instead had a change of heart about missing the 2017 season and ended up transferring again to JUCO school Mississippi Gulf Coast. From there Gibson would never return to D1 football and did not make it to the NFL. Yet, to his credit he's still playing football to this day as he's made appearances in the Canadian Football League and other minor leagues in the States. 

I think Torrance Gibson would have been able to recover from his departure from OSU better if he played in the current era where guys can get immediate eligibility. After missing his first two years of college ball, you can't really blame him for getting impatient and not wanting to sit out a third straight year in order to be eligible at Cincinnati. Another case of what could have been. Ohio State really could have used Torrance Gibson in 2016 & beyond after the departures of Michael Thomas, Jalin Marshall & Braxton Miller. Think about the top guys in that room in 2016..Curtis Samuel, Noah Brown, Dontre Wilson ect..Ohio State didn't have anyone with Gibson's athletic abilities and needed another playmaker.

.Trevon Grimes (Class of 2017 - Fort Lauderdale, FL) - Man what a weird saga that was Trevon Grimes at Ohio State. As a midwest kid with connections to Indianapolis & Cincy..he was all Buckeye as a silent verbal for years prior to enrolling in Columbus. He played with Nick Bosa on one of St. Thomas' more dominant teams. He was a five star/high four star mega WR recruit who was supposed to take the reigns as feature pass catcher for the Buckeyes. His dodgeball themed video alongside Tyjon Lindsey remains one of the coolest commitment visuals we've ever seen. But all that came crashing down in a matter of months as Grimes couldn't even make it out of the fall of his freshmen season before returning back home to Florida in October of 2017.

Homesickness, limited playing time, and a purported clash with Zach Smith during a practice led to Grimes becoming disenchanted with Urban Meyer & the Buckeyes. Brett Mcmurphy would end up detailing some nasty allegations from Grimes & his father regarding Zach Smith. If you have the time go back and read this article about Grimes' time at OSU and his family situation (when all this came out as a result of the Urban Meyer/Zach Smith debacle, I was done with Smith, Meyer, Grimes..ect..and didn't pay much attention to the details of this story, but looking back it's an interesting read)

The Grimes situation is a good example of how all we see as fans is the glitz & glamour surrounding these mega recruits. But many of these athletes have a lot of serious things going on in their private lives that we just don't know about..and I think we just need to be more mindful of that as people who really only care about these guys making it on a football field. 

Would be remiss not mention Johnnie Dixon (Class of 2014 - Palm Beach Gardens, FL) & Ben Victor (Class of 2016 - Fort Lauderdale) - Both of these players ended up being solid contributors for Ohio State. Dixon is especially a success story after battling annual injuries that threatened his entire football career. But those injuries technically prevented him from living to his top 100 - top 10 WR in the country status out of HS. And Victor never quite developed into the dominant taller receiver we thought he had potential to be coming out of Coconut Creek HS. 

-- Now that we've taken a trip down memory lane of some former big time recruits that didn't pan out. Will Brian Hartline's newest group of stars be able to live up to all the recruiting hype? In my opinion, if these guys can stay healthy this collection of talent is extremely equipped to perform at high levels in Columbus. Their talent, drive, the way they carry themselves coupled with Hartline's development should put them in optimal positions for success. Brandon Innis specifically, from everything I'm reading about his mentality  he simply won't be denied on a football field. 

This is a forum post from a site member. It does not represent the views of Eleven Warriors unless otherwise noted.

View 37 Comments